Democrats: "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" ?

Two common sayings about the Democratic party:
“snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”

and the Will Rogers quote “I am not a member of an organized political party. I’m a Democrat”

Elderly female spouses’ tale?

I’m not sure what the debate is.

Republicans are much better at politics than the democrats. Not only are they better at creating and forming a narrative that the public find enjoyable, but when they take office they use their power more efficiently.

So yeah, the democrats are fairly incompetent both at getting elected and using the power given to them when they get elected.

The democrats had supermajorities in state houses in 2009 and 2010. I don’t think they did anything with it. Once the GOP got supermajorities they started banning abortion, suppressing voters and expanding gun rights.


Not entirely sure what the OP means, but there are indeed a few things that show that Democrats aren’t as good as Republicans at maximizing their electoral game.

  1. Nancy Pelosi once complained about the difficulty of uniting the Democrats when there is such great diversity and conflicting interests and the herding-cats nature of leading the D’s. The Republicans - at least, prior to Trump - were/are much more cohesive, unified, less diverse, and have a much better time maintaining party discipline and acting together as one.

  2. The old saying that “Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line.” Republicans are more dutiful and will do their thing even if they don’t really feel like it, whereas many Democrats such as Millennials wouldn’t go to vote unless something particularly captured their emotions (like Obama’s candidacy.) In the Trump era, that may be changing, but again, that’s only because Trump is such an unusual person.

  3. With gerrymandering, the Electoral College, the 2-Senators-per-state system, etc., the political system as a whole does favor Republicans.

  4. Democrats have lost a number of strange or extremely close elections of late. When’s the last time a Republican lost the equivalent of the 2000 presidential election, or something like 2016? Those things happen largely to Democrats, not Republicans. Hence the “snatching defeat from jaws of victory” narrative. You have to go back to maybe Dewey-Truman to find a Republican case of losing like the way Hillary did in 2016.

Man, the Democrats have gotten horrible at getting elected since all the people who were comfortable cheating elections moved to the GOP…

This is a saying I have heard for decades, so it is not directly related to current state of events.
It may be the usual snark or self deprecation about the Democrats always being so disorganized that they can’t manage a win even when the wind is at their back.
Or someway or somehow always managing a fatal gaffe at the worst possible time
or that they have the worst luck

I agree with Velocity’s post, but want to insert one nitpick. As seen on this graphic, you have to go back to the 1980’s to find a time when Democrats controlled the House, but not also the Senate. (That streak may end in 2019!)

And the GOP electoral college advantage due to small states is exaggerated. Obama carried 27 states in 2012. Trump beat Hillary 30-21 in states(*) but if you subtract the extra 2 ev’s from each state Trump still wins easily. (In fact he still wins with just Pennsylvania even if Hillary gets Michigan and Wisconsin, if my arithmetic is correct.) The 13 states with only 3 or 4 evs are split 6 red, 6 blue with NH on the fence.

There is a huge GOP advantage structured into the Electoral College, but it’s not the small states. It’s the huge wastage of D votes in California (and New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, etc.) that explains why the R’s win the EC when the popular vote is close. A whopping 4.2 million California D’s could have stayed home on Election Day and Hillary would have still won the state. Contrast this with the GOP’s big state, Texas. If 810,000 Trump voters had stayed home, Texas would have gone to Hillary. The way that educated cosmopolitan voters are packed into a few states puts the D’s at a big electoral college disadvantage.

AFAIK, Donna Brazille is still a Dem.


No, its true, she was at the forefront of oppressing Republican votes by refusing to locate exclusive polling places on the grounds of gated communities. Great for voter fraud protection, because you know everybody there has the correct address, or they wouldn’t have gotten past the guard!

Will Rogers said that in 1935. That was three years into a thirty year period when the Democrats controlled the White House and a forty-eight year period when Democrats also controlled both houses of Congress for all except four years. During the period, the government ended the Great Depression, won World War II, made great advances in the social well-being of all Americans, and oversaw the largest economic expansion any country experienced in history.

Just think what they could have accomplished if they had been organized.

Yes but that was when the democrats had the solid south on their side. It was easier to get things done when 13 states made all their senators, representatives and electoral college votes go for the democrats.

Granted it wasn’t moral, the south only voted democratic because the republicans supported the civil war and reconstruction. Its a shame that all whites in the south cares about is whatever party lets them treat minorities like garbage, but its all they care about when it comes to politics.

Point being, it was much easier to pass FDRs and LBJs programs when 1/4 of the country is blindly loyal (just so long as you don’t stand up for minorities).

But then the southern votes went to the GOP when the GOP started treating minorities like garbage, and then Reagan won which gave the democrats PTSD and made them spineless to this day.

Hopefully we are seeing the birth of a new democratic party that is efficient and unapologetically leftist. But we will see. We may get more weak ‘please don’t make fun of me or call me names’ democrats like we’ve had.

As trollish as this is, it’s on-topic enough to respond to.

I think jayjay was talking about the kind of thing Brian Kemp is doing in Georgia, throwing voters off the rolls; as far as I know, Donna Brazile has not been accused of anything of that nature nor magnitude.

The Democrats have always been a cadre of loosely allied segments of the population. When Rogers made that statement, the Southern Dems and the northern Dems were virtually separate parties.

In today’s world, Democrats are largely white people who live in large urban areas, and so are more tolerant of differences by dint of propinquity, and people of color, who disproportionately live in large urban areas - and also know which party houses the blatant racists. There isn’t much else they have in common. They’re against most things Republicans want to do, but it’s much easier to get voters to turn out in favor of deeply held beliefs and policies than against a nebulous future result.

Conservatives have spent many years building up their base and getting that base elected in local elections. Small but active groups can get huge amounts accomplished against apathetic and inactive majorities. (Especially if helped by seventeen million types of voter suppression.) What Republicans have done is politically impressive and will be in textbooks for decades to come.

Democrats should start emulating them in the way we should be fighting climate change, i.e. by beginning twenty years ago. Failing that, the activism of Democratic women at all political levels should produce noticeable, if incremental, results. If they can stay active and start the snowball rolling the returns will be as impressive as those of the Republicans.

They still believe in the Silent Majority, now matter how loudly. They believe Il Douche when he tells them that there were five million illegal votes for HRC, and that’s why he lost the “popular” vote. The logistics of that are absurd, five million illegal registrations and voting by phantoms, all done covertly. It would have been like the D-Day invasion accomplished by stealth.

They believe that they are the real majority, which is how they can believe they are being cheated. Its why they enthusiastically support the War Against Voter Fraud. And when none is found, they wonder at the cunning brilliance of Democrats, the genius of treachery! Shit, if they think the Dems are that goddam smart, they should start negotiating a surrender with Nancy Pelosi, see what kind of mercy they can get!

We of the Mother’s March Against Cognitive Dissonance have decided to suspend our campaign for the immediate future. After all, what good is it to be able to think straight if you have no good choices anyway?

from a comment in the Washington Post that reflects my concern:
“Democrats, I suspect, will make a victory harder than it should be. A significant number seem to view Trump’s vulnerability as an opportunity to ideologically purify their party. They are actively undermining the job of containing the president by alienating centrist voters they need to turn the House.”

Is single payer considered a radical idea these days that alienates centrist voters? I’m thinking that single payer is reaching mainstream idea stage and improvement to the health care system appears to be Dem candidates’ number one issue. And *is *Dem voters’ number one issue.

There is a much more serious issue looming, that makes healthcare look like a cakewalk. If the Ds cannot find a way to successfully spin this into R malfeasance, the whole country simply deserves to collapse.